Conservation District to Offer Water Quality Monitoring Devices

Washington PA Observer Reporter
4 March 2014

WAYNESBURG – The Greene County Conservation District is initiating a new project designed to monitor water quality in homes and streams throughout the county, especially those near current or future Marcellus Shale development.

The Conservation District is seeking volunteers who live in rural areas of the county and obtain their water from either a well or spring.

Homeowners are encouraged to participate whether they have Marcellus Shale development in their area or not, as participation in the program is an easy way to learn more about the quality of water entering their homes.

Project participants will receive, at no cost to them, an electronic monitoring device called a CATTfish.

The CATTfish device was created by Carnegie Mellon University and was successfully used in Washington County. In the home, the easy-to-use device is simply placed in a toilet tank and monitors conductivity and temperature.

Unexpected results in these values would alert homeowners to potential water quality problems that would require more comprehensive testing.

The Conservation District will host an orientation this spring for participants during which they will receive their monitoring devices and be shown how to use them. Once a month, participants will need to send the data collected by their devices to the Conservation District for inclusion in a county-wide water quality database. The Conservation District will also provide comprehensive water testing where data from CATTfish devices indicate it is appropriate.

Additionally, the Conservation District will be placing water quality monitoring devices in streams throughout the county. The District is seeking homeowners who have streams on their property to host these devices. This will involve no work on the part of the homeowner as Conservation District staff would be responsible for installation, periodic data retrieval and maintenance of these devices.

Homeowners interested in participating with this project can download a pre-project questionnaire from the Conservation District’s website at and e-mail the completed form to Jared D. Zinn, the county watershed specialist, at

For more information, call Zinn at 724-852-5278.